Is Geingob overly scrutinised?
02 March 2020 | Columns
President Hage Geingob's visit to Omukwaniilwa of Ondonga, Fillemon Shuumbwa Nangolo, on Saturday sparked another wave of criticism against the head of state. Antagonists of the visit pointed to Geingob's supposed partisan focus on some traditional authorities, while ignoring the rest. They enumerated the number of visits the head of state has made particularly to the Ondonga kingdom, including when Omukwaniilwa Kauluma passed away in March last year. When peers of Kauluma die, the same courtesies are never extended to the deceased leaders' communities, detractors of the perpetual Ondonga visits pointed out. Whether right or wrong, these views cannot simply be ignored as hot wind by armchair critics. They are a reflection of people feeling neglected and that some traditional communities are elevated to hover above others in a country whose constitution considers everyone equal. Nangolo was coronated not too long ago and it is thus normal that many well-wishers would pay him a visit. In fact, founding president Sam Nujoma, former prime minister Nahas Angula and PDM leader McHenry Venaani, among others, have already paid Omukwaniilwa a visit. However, the visit by Geingob, the incumbent head of state, carries more weight than anyone else who bothered visiting Onambango palace so far. He is president for all and must be seen to treat everyone with the same zeal and zest. We feel that sometimes President Geingob gets unfairly criticised, but it is hard to defend a situation where he seems to invest his energy into one traditional authority ahead of others. The Subiya, Mafwe, Tswana, Vakwangali, Damara, OvaHerero, Nama, Mbukushu and all other Namibian traditional communities long for the day when the president pays their leaders a visit. It's not an unfair expectation under the circumstances. We thus hope Saturday's visit is the first ahead of many others to all peers of Nangolo across the country, as much as this would be a costly exercise.
If not, it would be hard to question the concerns raised following this past weekend's visit.